Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #47

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf watches some impressions and wonders if it was wise.

Very Important People

This new impressionism show started on Channel 4 this week as part of a big comedy line up on the channel (along with 8 Out of 10 Cats, Alan Carr: Chatty Man and Stand Up For the Week).

It features Morgana Robinson and Terry Mynott impersonating a certain range of people. In this first episode there’s heavyweight political figures but instead that particular class of usually pointless celebrity – the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Amy Childs and Danny Dyer.

Now for me impressionism usually has one big problem, which is trying to get the performer to look like the person they are pretending to be as well as getting to sound like them. That’s why I think the best impressionism shows are Spitting Image and the radio version of Dead Ringers, because in both shows you don’t see the performers, only the image in your head, or the rubbery visage.

In terms of this show, I’m not the best to judge the quality of the impressions, although that’s because I tend not to watch most of the shows that those particular people perform in. I ’ve never watched The Voice or Embarrassing Bodies, so I don’t really know what Jessie J or Dr. Christian Jessen sound like.

However, in terms of the ideas that were generated, I found them to be good. I liked the sketch in which David Attenborough was observing Frankie Boyle in his natural habitat, and Fearne Cotton’s children’s game show in which kids try to act like celebrities.

If I were to be more critical I’d say that the satire isn’t as hard hitting as it could be. It’s not as vicious as Spitting Image was, so it’s more akin to Dead Ringers in that respect. But still, it’s a decent enough programme and should do well in my opinion…

John Le Mesurier: It’s All Been Rather Lovely

On at the same time as Very Important People was this new documentary about the life of Dad’s Army star John Le Mesurier.

In terms of the show’s content, it should be pointed out that there’s nothing really new or groundbreaking, so if you’re a devotee of Le Mesurier then chances are that there will be nothing surprising.

However, if you mainly know him simply as Sgt. Wilson, his appearances alongside Tony Hancock, or his troubled personal life then there’s probably some things that might have been new to you. For starters there’s the issue of how prolific he was in terms of the number of films he starred in. He did over 100, often just doing a quick cameo role.

One thing that I learnt about him that I never knew previously was that he won a BAFTA award. Not for anything comedic, but for drama, playing in a one-off programme called Traitor by Dennis Potter.

So, for someone mostly unfamiliar with Le Mesurier’s background there is much to learn, but if you are an aficionado of his work then this programme’s probably not of much use to you.